To the surprise of no one, King Charles’s coronation emblem (the existence of which probably does surprise most Americans) prominently features plants. His love of organic gardening is well documented. I own his book and I was thrilled to see the monarch up close in a community garden back in 2011. (See “Prince Charles in the Garden!”)

About the emblem, the Palace announced that:

The emblem pays tribute to The King’s love of the natural world, unifying the flora of the four nations of the United Kingdom; the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and the shamrock of Northern Ireland. Together, the flowers create the shape of St Edward’s Crown, with which His Majesty The King will be crowned during the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6th May. The emblem has been designed using the red, white and blue of the union flag.

The more surprising part of the announcement is about the celebrity of the designer – “the internationally revered designer Sir Jony Ive KBE…a British designer. Formerly the Chief Design Officer at Apple, he holds more than 14,000 patents worldwide, uniquely spanning user interface and hardware design.” Does the U.S. have a designer this famous? 

Sir Jony Ive

From another source:

Sir Jony Ive is most famous for his iconic product designs for Apple – including the iPod and iPhone. So it’s raised some eyebrows that the British Royal Family has just revealed him to be behind flora-themed logo design for King Charles III’s Coronation, which will take place in May.

Apple’s former chief design officer, who received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, says the logo design was “inspired by King Charles’ love of the planet, nature, and his deep concern for the natural world” and communicates “the happy optimism of spring”. Ive adds that the “gentle modesty” of design’s natural forms combine to define an emblem that “acknowledges both the joyful and profound importance of this occasion.”

And the design isn’t just lovely.  It’s as accessible and useful as possible, with its release in high resolution offered copyright-free and a full style guide that suggests variations in color and a version in Welsh too.

The emblem will appear on all sorts of merch, with examples in the style guide including a bunting, a water bottle and, of course, a tea pot. So we should soon see better-looking coronation products than are currently on offer. (Above, search results for “coronation merchandise King Charles.”)

Floral Background in Another  Kehinde Wiley Painting

Readers may remember my post about Kehinde Wiley‘s plant-filled portrait of President Obama or this post showing Wiley’s statue in the style of a mounted Confederate general at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (For more, see the Museum’s own announcement.)

And for more immersion into the art of Kehinde Wiley, I follow his wonderful Instagram account.

So yeah, I was already a fan when I came upon this beautiful, room-size work in DC’s newest museum – the Rubell Mueum DC.  It’s another iteration in his striking series in the style of iconic European art with black male models. (More info about this painting.)

Named “Sleep,” after the original work by a French painter circa 1771, it’s the centerpiece of the museum’s opening exhibit “What’s Going On,” named for the important protest song by Marvin  Gaye – who went to school in the very building the museum now occupies! The song is played throughout the exhibit spaces.

Here’s a close-up.